My Magnum Opus

November 25, 2006


This morning, Julia sat curled up on the playroom floor, scribbling intently on her Etch-a-Sketch, when she held it up proudly and announced: "Look Mama, it's my magnum opus."

OK, so she's probably not the next Michelangelo. She's just possibly been watching a little too much of her Charlotte's Web video recently. Remember the part where Charlotte lays her egg sac?

Wilbur awoke and looked for Charlotte. He saw her up overhead in a corner near the back of his pen. She was very quiet. Her eight legs were spread wide. She seemed to have shrunk during the night. Next to her, attached to the ceiling, Wilbur saw a curious object. It was a sort of sac, or cocoon. It was peach colored and looked as though it were made of cotton candy.

"Are you awake, Charlotte?" he asked softly.

"Yes," came the answer.

"What is that nifty little thing? Did you make it?"

"I did, indeed," replied Charlotte in a weak voice.

"Is it a plaything?"

"Plaything?" I should say not. It is my egg sac, my magnum opus."

"I don't know what a magnum opus is," said Wilbur.

"That's Latin," explained Charlotte. "It means "great work." This egg sac is my great work--the finest thing I have ever made."

I looked at Julia sitting there on the floor, the morning sunlight bouncing off her blonde curls, her eyes beaming with pride, and I looked down at my bulging belly and realized: this is my magnum opus. The finest thing I have ever made. The greatest work I will ever do. My babies.

Charlotte goes on to tell Wilbur about the 514 eggs in her egg sac. God bless her--Will and I may stop at two. And that's what makes this whole experience so bittersweet. It may be the last time. The last time to be pregnant. The last time to give birth. The last time to hold our brand new baby. The last time for all of those firsts that we so eagerly anticipated with Julia. This time, I know I'll be a lot less anxious for our baby to reach each one of those long-awaited milestones, because I may be experiencing them for the last time. And all I'll have to remember them by is perhaps a blog entry, maybe a photograph and a note scribbled in a baby book, undoubtedly a memory etched so graphically in my head that I think I'll never forget it. But, eventually, the years will shake it up, soften it, and blur it around the edges. So for now, I'm holding onto each fleeting moment as if it's the last.

Join's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.

Read the next entry: 12.4.06: Boy Meets World